Just when you thought things had settled down into a nice rhythm, rules – rules – rules. It was only a few years ago that the USTA unleashed their MASS BUMP on the tennis world. I didn’t go back and research the percentages but I recall that 3.5 to 4.0 was the biggest group and I believe it was over 30%. It took a couple of years to get adjusted to that shift, with players who should have never been bumped up finding themselves at a loss. Now it seems we have hit an equilibrium of sorts, with all levels probably having dropped down 0.25 from the pre-mass bump world.
So obviously it’s time to make a bunch of rules changes and stir the pot up once again. But while the mass bump was an across the board change, the new rules seem to me to be a combination of ‘everybody gets a ribbon’ and ‘let’s shift more burden onto the captains’. Not to say that I disagree with all of them, but it’s just getting harder and harder to be a pimp.
New Nationals bump up rule – This was conceived at the national level based on complaints that mixed teams were able to have too many players who had gone to nationals at other events. Basically, some captains were creating all-star teams with 3.5, 4.0 & 4.5 men and women who had all been to nationals on their respective 18s teams. My only question is why wasn’t everyone doing that if they could. After circulation to the sections for comment, nationals unilaterally decided to apply it to EVERYTHING and several sections aren’t happy about it. This makes life very difficult for captains who now need to police 18s, 40s, 55s, men’s, mixed and everything else you can thing of at your level and one above/below to make sure you don’t have over three players that went to nationals at ANY level in ANY event. What a needless beat down. If you need it for mixed, ok, but applying it to everything is going overboard. When players get booted for playing up but a different age division is ludicrous.
If your rating expires you can’t come back in lower than where you left – not as new but not very well understood and very difficult to administer. If someone’s rating went to 0.0 how exactly can a captain tell what his old rating was? Some are pretty obvious but it’s a compliance nightmare. Maybe he didn’t get bumped up, maybe he got down, maybe he appealed, who knows?
If you’re playing in the playoffs in Dallas, better stay in Dallas – this is strictly a DTA rule, as Fort Worth doesn’t apply this to their leagues or players. In the past, if you were on a Dallas and a FW team it was no big deal. If both made the playoffs it still wasn’t a big deal, you picked one team to join in the playoffs and you were there until it was eliminated. Same goes for playing 4.0 and 4.5 at the same time. If both made the playoffs, pick one and stay with it. So now we need a new DTA form that requires you to designate a team before you have any idea how good a team is going to be or what you might want to do. These were due about the time the season started. And if you didn’t turn them in the DTA defaulted you onto one of them. Just another headache for captains to keep up with. Maybe if you required them a few weeks before the playoffs, ok, but it’s a lot of paper to push and players to keep up with for teams who may not make the playoffs anyway.
40 and Over League – this was a good idea and seems to have worked well, although the DTA shot themselves in the foot last year leaving the women with a November start but moving the men to a January start. The move doesn’t irk me as much as the reason. This was supposed to make scheduling easier, then we get a season where 40s cities end and men’s 18s start the next weekend – not ideal. Or was it the ‘Austin wanted us to do it because they don’t like Early Start Rating leagues’. Of course Austin itself didn’t change their league dates and still has an ESR league so I’m a little suspicious there. On the whole though, this has been well received, the competition has been good, and Dallas has done well. Old guy singles may not be tv worthy but some of those guys do know how to play doubles.
Added ‘Head-to-Head’ as a new tie-breaker – shocking that this was never a part of the tie-breaker equation before.
Not much we can do about any of this but grin and bear it, but let’s at least hope the DTA doesn’t get on a rules happy tear. Yes, it’s hard out here for a pimp.
Finally, I want to congratulate the first nominees for the end of the year Pimp awards. At 7.0 Mixed, Rene Alzuro makes his first trip to the Playa's ball. The Wagon Wheel Madame, Krista Carlson gets to return to the Playa's ball. Dallas went two for three in geezer mixed sectionals with Canyon Creek being very close.